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The “Value” of Design

15 Jul, 2008 McKell Naegle

Design is a vital component of a company’s identity. Often times it is the only thing that differentiates it in the marketplace. Good design is a powerful tool in communicating your business’ objectives. It tells a visual story. Like strong communication, a strong design reflects a business’s profile, appeals to clients, and most importantly, distances the business from its competitors. In the dog eat dog world of business there is a surplus of eye catching, impressive communications coming at us every day. Competition is strong. People have options. There is always a company that will gladly be your substitute. What gives you the advantage are creative, well-presented ideas, delivered via design, that set you and your company notches above the rest.

“In a world loaded with stuff that looks like all the other stuff and performs like all the other stuff, design is a way to stand out.” -Tom Peters, Chairman, Tom Peters Company

What do you think when you experience the impact of poor design in your life? Are you likely to adopt a new software application that is poorly designed? When you are handed a generic business card that was printed at Kinko’s are you impressed? Is poorly designed consumer packaging likely to attract your attention as you walk down the shopping isle? When it’s time to purchase your next automobile would you give serious consideration to a poorly designed vehicle? When you are evaluating vendors online and you land on a poorly designed website how long does it take you to click away in search of a better option?

Design is worth the time, money, and resources that it demands. Despite this verity, it is often overlooked in the marketing plan. A successful marketing plan requires the absolute synergy of multiple elements. From the mission statement to the letterhead to the media campaigns, without synergy a company can turn itself into a home of cluttered ideas and resources. Businesses that think of design as merely an “add-on” or a budget breaker do so at their own peril. Effective design is often the glue that pulls all of the elements together, giving way to success.

Leave Your Impression

It’s said that seven seconds is the average length of time you have to make a first impression. If you’re able to make a great impression you can bet that any client is likely to take you seriously. When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on your appearance and your body language. Only 7% is based on the things you say. Whoever said that you can’t judge a book by its cover failed to mention that people do. Design is your chance at making a great impression. It’s your seven seconds, or maybe less, you have to get immediate, indelible attention.

Clearly, it’s not what you say. It’s the way that you say it. Design is your silent salesperson wordlessly promoting your company. Before anyone lays a hand on your product or engages your services, they meet your business through your communications such as a logo, website, or advertising. What is it saying about you?

Design Opens Doors

The most successful and imaginative companies use design to enable innovation. The more a business uses design, the better they are at innovating and getting new products and services to their respective markets. Recent research shows that just 32% of all companies have launched a new product or service in the last 3 years, while 67% of companies who accept design as an integral part of their business have done so.

“The company that builds a culture of innovation is on the path to growth. The company that fails to innovate is on the road to obsolescence.” – A.G. Lafley, Chairman & CEO, Procter & Gamble

Design is a profession based on conception: on helping to define an opportunity, then develop a solution that will fulfill it. The role of a designer is to have ideas – and to inspire them in others. It is communication. Effective design from a marketing point of view is simplistic. It entices people to explore deeper into what you have to offer. Good design doesn’t just sell products, it fosters collaboration, creates desire, improves intelligence, starts revolutions, communicates strategy, sets expectations, improves the efficiency of a team, eliminates frustration and most importantly inspires and motivates like nothing else.

-Nate Canova

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